One unreliable character in a book keeps you on your toes, but two? You’re entering precarious territory.

A word to readers of Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest: tread lightly and carefully. One character in this novel secretly suspects that tigers live in her Australian house. A second character appears one day, claiming to be a government worker sent to care for the first character (also questionable). The two women embark on a strange partnership that changes minute-to-minute: one day they’re at odds and the next they’re aligned. Neither narrates the story, but you quickly understand the undercurrent of deception. Their suspicions of each other—and ours!—grow page by page, but then again, it’s possible we’re all just overreacting.


Reading McFarlane’s novel had us unnerved but always engaged. That’s a serious skill, especially as this is her debut offering.

The Night Guest is available now.

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